Interviewing in the Medical Context: Questions, Answers, Assessments – An Interdisciplinary Approach

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Abstract

There has been a large amount of research done on doctor-patient encounters analysing the linguistic and discursive peculiarities occurring in these interactions. Though many relevant features of medical interviewing are well-known to the scientific public, there are still areas for further investigation. One of these areas is the sequential organisation of the dialogues between patients and doctors.

This paper aims to show the pragmatic means that contribute to the efficacy of doctor-patient talk. As a method, the contribution applies the Sociocognitive Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis. The sequential organisation of therapeutic dialogues involves the use of particular speech acts (questions, answers, assessments) that are characteristic of the comforting and confirming procedures of the therapist. The paper intends to analyse the parts of the therapeutic interview (initiation, exploration and termination) to show patient-centredness in interviewing and the sequential organisation of empathy and confirmation with the help of an interview transcript between a doctor and patient after a renal transplant.

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